Crowdfunding has become the saving grace of the independent film world in the last few years, even if reality can be a rude wake-up call for some. Not every independent film is going to be swept up into the arms of an adoring public willing to give their hard-earned cash away. That’s especially true if nobody knows who you are, what your track record is, or even the prospects of how successful the movie will be.
No matter how good an idea is, having too many unknowns about you and your film is going to make your Kickstarter or IndieGogo crowdfunding plan likely sit idle for weeks or months. What’s the real secret lately to ensuring you’ll get top donations from people who care beyond getting some benefits later?
Doing the Marketing Before the Funding Launch
Many first-time filmmakers make the mistake of thinking the crowdfunding process is the beginning of the marketing process. They don’t put themselves in the shoes of potential investors and how they really feel about donating money to an untested name. That’s why you need to do some marketing beforehand and get your name out there to prove some clout. You may want to start months in advance before even inaugurating your crowdfunding campaign to allow time for word to spread.
Where you start is a matter of whether you want to go straight to the press with a story about your film, or if you want to promote on your own. If you have some PR skills, you can take a story related to your film directly to local media to generate some buzz. Any compelling or emotional story behind your film has a good chance of being covered by at least local news if perhaps even nationally.
The alternative is to tell the story behind your film in a video and place it on YouTube. You can promote this yourself on social media where it could possibly go viral. This can be tied in with the PR and media side of things.
Email marketing is still an effective marketing tool, even if we don’t always think of it first. Start a website first to promote your film and have an opt-in feature for an email list that can help you gain fans early. After gaining hundreds of people on your list for recurring updates, you can email them collectively when your crowdfunding campaign finally gets underway. You’ll have all those people aware of it collectively, which could help you meet your funding goal within a week.
Networking Through Social Media
Going the old-fashioned route of networking on social media never gets old and still works in this context. It doesn’t hurt to network in the real world either, particularly at film festivals or other functions related to film. Even if on a local level, you’ll have people aware of you and your upcoming project.
Before the marketing even starts, be sure you have a story or documentary people truly care about. It’s becoming rare for fiction to generate that much excitement, and indie documentaries have been doing much better on Kickstarter and IndieGogo. Because you’re in indie film, you may have a desire to write a fiction project with an offbeat plot. In this case, you may have to go a little mainstream with your story to truly interest the people you’ve worked hard to market to.